Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson doesn't just want out of Houston. He wants to play in New York.
Among a slew of teams that would be interested in trading for Watson this offseason, the star's preferred trade destination is the Jets, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
According to Salguero's report, Watson's second preference after New York is the Miami Dolphins.
One main reason why Watson would prefer to don green and white next season is the Jets new head coach, Robert Saleh.
"Watson this week told people the Jets are his top preference among the teams he’d like to be traded to because they hired Robert Saleh to be their coach and Watson values Saleh so much he wanted the Texans to interview him for their vacant head coach job," Salguero wrote on Saturday morning.
One of Saleh's former players from his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Richard Sherman, recently said on his podcast that Watson should "head to New York" as quickly as he can. Sherman had previously praised the Jets for deciding to hire Saleh as their next head coach.
If Watson does in fact want to play in New York, that bodes well for the Jets considering the 25-year-old has a no-trade clause and can choose his destination. The Jets are one of the only teams in the NFL that have the draft capital necessary to make this kind of blockbuster trade even a possibility.
New York could offer the Texans one of their two first-rounders from both of the next two drafts in addition to other top selections over the next few years. They could even package 23-year-old Sam Darnold into the deal as well, giving Houston a young quarterback to take over for Watson.
Saleh spoke about Darnold during his introductory press conference on Thursday but didn't give any indications as to how New York plans to solve their quarterback conundrum going forward.
"We're just getting the staff into the building so there's so many things that we have to do from an evaluation standpoint with regards to the entire roster, not just the quarterback," Saleh said. "To give you that answer right now would not be fair."
He went on to praise Darnold, saying the former first-rounder has unbelievable arm talent, he's fearless in the pocket and is tough as nails.
An opportunity to move on from Darnold with a phenom like Watson would be hard to pass up on, even if it costs a boatload of picks. Watson is one of the best at the position in the league, coming off a season where he led the league in passing yards (4,823) and had the second-best passer rating (112.4).
Again, he's only 25. In the right situation, Watson could be a perennial MVP candidate and lead a team to postseason contention for the next decade. Meanwhile, Darnold was last among qualifying quarterbacks in 2020 with a 72.7 passer rating and 40.3 QBR. Granted he could benefit from a fresh coaching staff including Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
Another option for the Jets is to address the quarterback situation with their draft picks. New York could take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Ohio State's Justin Fields and BYU's Zach Wilson will be on the board after the Jaguars likely take presumptive top pick Trevor Lawrence with the first selection.